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Finding Your Perfect Home in a Fixer Upper

Finding Your Perfect Home in a Fixer Upper

If you’re trying to buy a home and are having a hard time finding one you can afford, it may be time to consider a fixer-upper. That’s a house that needs a little elbow grease or some updates, but has good bones. Fixer-uppers can be a really great option if you’re looking to break into the housing market or want to stretch your budget further. According to NerdWallet:

“Buying a fixer-upper can provide a path to homeownership for first-time home buyers or a way for repeat buyers to afford a larger home or a better neighborhood. With the relatively low inventory of homes for sale these days, a move-in ready home can be hard to find, especially if you’re on a budget.”

Basically, since the number of homes for sale is still so low, if you’re only willing to tour homes that have all your dream features, you may be cutting down your options too much and making it harder on yourself than necessary. It may be time to cast a wider net.

Sometimes the perfect home is the one you perfect after buying it.

Here’s some information that can help you pinpoint what you truly need so you can be strategic in your home search. First, make a list of all the features you want in a home. From there, work to break those features into categories like this:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle.
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-to-haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of these, it’s a contender.
  • Dream State – This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner.

Once you’ve sorted your list in a way that works for you, share it with your real estate agent. They’ll help you find homes that deliver on your top needs right now and have the potential to be your dream home with a little bit of sweat equity. Lean on their expertise as you think through what’s possible, what features are easy to change or add, and how to make it happen. According to Progressive:

“Many real estate agents specialize in finding fixer-uppers and have a network of inspectors, contractors, electricians, and the like.”

Your agent can also offer advice on which upgrades and renovations will set you up to get the greatest return on your investment if you ever decide to sell down the line.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t found a home you love that’s in your budget, it may be worth thinking through all your options, including fixer-uppers. Sometimes the perfect home for you is the one you perfect after buying it. To see what’s available in your area, connect with a local real estate agent.

The Benefits of Downsizing When You Retire

The Benefits of Downsizing When You Retire

If you’re taking a look at your expenses as you retire, saving money where you can has a lot of appeal. One long-standing, popular way to do that is by downsizing to a smaller home.

When you think about cutting down on your spending, odds are you think of frequent purchases, like groceries and other goods. But when you downsize your house, you often end up downsizing the bills that come with it, like your mortgage payment, energy costs, and maintenance requirements. Realtor.com shares:

“A smaller home typically means lower bills and less upkeep. Then there’s the potential windfall that comes from selling your larger home and buying something smaller.”

That windfall is thanks to your home equity. If you’ve been in your house for a while, odds are you’ve built up a considerable amount of equity. And that equity is something you can use to help you buy a home that better fits your needs today. Daniel Hunt, CFA at Morgan Stanleyexplains:

Home equity can be a significant source of wealth for retirees, often representing a large portion of their net worth. . . . Retirement planning can be complex, but your home equity shouldn’t be overlooked.”

And when you’re ready to use that equity to fuel your next move, your real estate agent will be your guide through every step of the process. That includes setting the right price for your current house when you sell, finding the home that best fits your evolving needs, and understanding what you can afford at today’s mortgage rate.

What This Means for You

If you’re thinking about downsizing, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the original reasons I bought my current house still stand, or have my needs changed since then?
  • Do I really need and want the space I have right now, or could somewhere smaller be a better fit?
  • What are my housing expenses right now, and how much do I want to try to save by downsizing?

Then, meet with a real estate agent to get an answer to this one: What are my options in the market right now? A local real estate agent can walk you through how much equity you have in your house and how it positions you to win when you downsize.

Bottom Line

Want to save money in retirement? Consider downsizing – it could really help you out. When you’re ready, connect with a local real estate agent about your goals in the housing market this year.

Bridging the Gaps on the Road to Homeownership

Bridging the Gaps on the Road to Homeownership

Homeownership is a major part of the American Dream. But, the path to achieving this dream can be quite difficult. While progress has been made to improve fair housing access, households of color still face unique challenges on the road to owning a home. Working with the right real estate experts can make all the difference for diverse buyers.

It’s clear that achieving homeownership is more challenging for certain groups because there’s still a measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, Black households continue to have the lowest homeownership rate nationally (see graph below):

Homeownership is an important part of building household wealth that can be passed down to future generations. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), almost half of Black homebuyers in 2023 were first-time buyers. That means many didn’t have home equity they could use toward their home purchase.

That financial hurdle alone makes buying a home more challenging, especially at a time when affordability is a major concern for first-time buyers. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at NAR says:

“It’s an incredibly difficult market for all home buyers right now, especially first-time home buyers and especially first-time home buyers of color.”

Because of these challenges, there are several down payment assistance programs specifically aimed at helping minority buyers fulfill their homeownership dreams:

  • The 3By30 program offers valuable resources for Black buyers, making it easier for them to secure a down payment and buy a home.
  • For Native Americans, Down Payment Resource highlights 42 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs across 14 states that make homeownership more attainable by providing support with down payments and other costs.
  • Fannie Mae provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in Latino communities.

Even if you don’t qualify for these programs, there are many other federal, state, and local options available to look into. And a real estate professional can help you find the ones that best meet your needs.

For minority homebuyers, the challenges that remain can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process. These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice, they’re also compassionate educators who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Connect with a real estate professional to make sure you have to make sure you have the information and support you need as you walk the path to homeownership.

Winning Plays for Buying a Home in Today’s Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Winning Plays for Buying a Home in Today’s Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

Why It’s More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why It’s More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

The Top Benefits of Buying a Multi-Generational Home

The Top Benefits of Buying a Multi-Generational Home

Has the idea of sharing a home with loved ones like your grandparents, parents, or other relatives crossed your mind? If so, you’re not alone. More buyers are choosing to go this route and buy a multi-generational home. Here’s a look at some of the top reasons why, to see if a home like this may be right for you too.

Why Buyers Are Opting for Multi-Generational Living

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), two of the top reasons buyers are opting for multi-generational homes today have to do with affordability (see graph below):

First-time buyers are focused most on cost savings – with 28% saying this was a key reason for them. By pooling their resources with others, they can share financial responsibilities like mortgage payments, utilities, and more to make homeownership more affordable. This is especially helpful for those first-time homebuyers who may be finding it tough to afford a home on their own in today’s market.

Buyers are also turning to multi-generational homes so they can more easily afford their dream home. Both first-time (28%) and repeat buyers (18%) chose to live with others so they could buy a larger home. When everyone chips in and combines their incomes, that big dream home with more space could be more within reach.

But multi-generational living isn’t just about the financial side of things. According to the same study from NAR, 23% of repeat buyers chose to buy a multi-generational home to make it easier to care for an aging parent. Many older adults want to age in place and a multi-generational home can help make that possible. For those older adults, it gives them an opportunity to maintain their quality of life while being surrounded by their loved ones. As Axios explains:

“Financial concerns and caregiving needs are two of the major reasons people live with their parents (and parents’ parents).”

Lean on an Expert

Finding the perfect multi-generational home isn’t as simple as shopping for a regular house. That’s because there are more people with even more opinions and needs to be considered. It’s like solving a puzzle, and the pieces need to fit just right.

So if you’re interested in the many benefits multi-generational living offers, partner with a local real estate agent who has the expertise to help.

Bottom Line

Whether your motives are financial or focused on the people you’ll share your home with, buying a multi-generational home may make sense for you. If you’re interested in learning more, connect with a local real estate agent.